In the modern world of agile software development, successful version control and source code management are essential for successful DevOps. Such a task is easiest when one is only dealing with a single repository but as more repositories become part of the development process, the responsibility of managing code changes from across multiple systems increases. In order to maintain a healthy development environment, developers have to be able to handle merge conflicts.

A merge conflict is a situation in which two different versions of the same code have been changed in a way that creates incompatibilities. This situation occurs when different developers make changes to the same lines of code without being aware of each other. For example, if one developer changes lines of code from one branch and another developer changes the same lines of code in an alternate branch, a merge conflict occurs.

When faced with a merge conflict, two approaches can be taken: either manually resolve the conflict or create an automated process that will address the issue. While it may be tempting to go for the automated route, it is important to note that manual resolution is generally the best choice, as it lets developers preserve the integrity of the code and minimize downtime.

Before attempting to resolve a merge conflict, the first step is to identify the conflicting code. When it comes to a manual conflict resolution process, developers can take advantage of specialized source control and development tools like Git for versioning and plain-text and XML diff tools for comparison. By quickly and effectively comparing the changes outlined in each branch, you can pinpoint the exact lines of code which conflict with each other.

When faced with the task of resolving the conflict, it is important to take a systematic approach. Begin by carefully reviewing the changes made to the conflicting code and focusing on quality over speed. This will ensure that changes are made accurately so that the code is not unintentionally broken. It is also important to keep in mind that all merge conflicts should be resolved in such a way that preserves the code’s version history.

For merge conflicts that involve large and complex changes, it is often best to create a separate branch that resolves the conflict only then carry the change on to the main branch. This way the and all its changes can be peer-reviewed, thus ensuring the stability of the changes and final product.

Finally, having automated processes such as Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment in place can make resolving conflicts go much more smoothly. Automated processes help to streamline the release process by reducing the number of manual steps required and alerting developers to potential conflicts before they arise. By investing in such tools and processes, organizations can save time and resources when it comes to conflict resolution and increase the speed and efficiency of their software delivery pipelines.

Overall, merge conflicts can be daunting but they don't need to be. With the right tools and processes in place, developers can ensure that conflicts get resolved quickly and smoothly, allowing them to focus on producing high quality software. Automation is a great way to simplify the process, but manual conflict resolution is still a valid approach when dealing with more complex issues. In any case, understanding the underlying principles of conflict resolution and having the proper practice and process will help guarantee a successful DevOps solution.


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“Flosum is the best native release management tool that you will fall in love with. I have gained confidence in my role and has given me the ability to view release management from a whole different perspective.”

Faizan Ali

Faizan Ali
Salesforce Consultant at Turnitin